Hugh Howey
Hugh Howey

Bestselling author of Wool and other books. Currently sailing around the world.

How to Build a Self-Conscious Machine (And Why It’s Probably a Silly Idea)

     The Coolest Thing in the Universe The universe is full of some very cool stuff: neutron stars that weigh a ton a teaspoon; supermassive black holes that grip even light in their iron fists; infinitesimal neutrinos that stream right through solid steel; all the bizarre flora and fauna found right here on planet Earth. It might be the ultimate in egoism, but of all the known things in the universe, the most amazing is surely the lump of goo inside our skulls. That lump of goo knows about…

Eusocial Bifurcation: Why Not Getting Along Makes Perfect Sense

Does it feel like we’re at war with ourselves? Like the world is split into two groups, and we can’t stop fighting? It might feel like this is getting worse and worse, despite the civil wars and world wars of the past. But what if the constant fighting across these great societal divides is not a bug in our genetic programming? What if it’s a feature? It has been said that nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution. This was said, in fact, by an Eastern…

Dispatches from Silo 18

When I wrote about the silos in WOOL, one of the ideas I wanted to capture is the insanity of walling ourselves off from each other, and all the trillions we spend defending from and attacking one another, when we’re all in the same green-and-blue space-boat. Viewed from afar, it’s absolutely bonkers. Yet we persist. Travel can be antidote to bigotry. I recently spent over a month in Cuba, which is the most silo-like country I’ve ever visited. Not much has changed in the 16 years between my visits. The…

The Woman in the Red Dress

The 67th International Astronautical Congress convenes today in Guadalajara Mexico. All the world’s major space players will be there, discussing policy and product development. If there’s one conference I could walk around with a badge on, it would probably be this one. There are few things more exciting going on right now than the leaps in commercial space exploration. Tomorrow, Elon Musk will outline SpaceX’s path to Mars. And in recent weeks, Blue Origin unveiled their new rocket design which will be the most powerful in existence, the sort of…

Like Unto Children

Terminator, The Matrix, Ex Machina, Robocop, I, Robot, 2001, A Space Odyssey. They all follow the formula of: Man makes machine, machine destroys man. It’s a sci-fi trope. But what if we’re wrong about how we will feel about our creations? I have a feeling it might go much differently. I think mankind will one day go extinct, but that we won’t mind. Heresy, right? Millions of years of evolution have created an intense drive for self-preservation. The idea that we might willingly be replaced — even replace ourselves — is unthinkable. Except…